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Entries in Montana Festival of the Book (1)


So, what's a book tour really like?

Ahhh...can you hear that? It's the sound of a happy heart as I'm back in my home office, unshaven, wearing unmatched socks, dogs lazily snoring at my feet while my coffee cools down. Home. It has a nice ring to it.

I wrapped up my last two stops in Minneapolis, where we packed 110 people into The Bookcase in Wayzata and where we spent the night in a lake-house designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's protogees.

Then it was off to Portlandia for Wordstock where our accommodations were the polar opposite in the embodiment of a hipster motel. If I were younger, single, and possibly on heroin, I would have loved the place. As is, I wrote "Liberate tuteme ex Inferis!" on our door which also doubled as a chalkboard. I'll let you figure out the Latin. Wordstock on the other hand was paradisius. 

Now that I'm home for a few days before I head out on the back nine of the Willow Frost Tour, I thought I'd answer the question, "What's a book tour really like?" With that in mind, here's a typical day:

7:00 AM - Wake up in Chicago, eat a light breakfast. Not too much since I don't want to be burping on the mic for my morning interview. Leave 90 minutes early to battle traffic en route to the studio.

9:00 AM - In-studio interview at WGN. Sign in with the security desk, find my way to the 7th floor. Great interview since the host has read the book. (Yay!) Leave for another 90 minute drive to a country club where a local bookstore is hosting a luncheon. I'm dressed up, slap on a tie since I don't know the dress code.

11:30 AM - Arrive at the club. Nibble on my salad. Talk story for about 20 minutes, read two pages, answer questions, sign books, take photos, chat with readers and express my sincere gratitude to the bookstore for putting on a great event. (Thank you!) Steal a cookie on the way out.

2:00 PM - Back to where we're staying (with friends). Usually we're at a hotel but this time we opted for the comforts of almost-home with Luis & Cindy Urrea. I answer emails, a Q&A from a newspaper, confirm more interviews for later in the week.

3:00 PM - Speaking of interviews, I have one more, a phone-in from a radio station in Oregon. I pace around nervously in my socks, wondering if I have time for a nap.

4:00 PM - Nap. I zzzzzzz...for 45 minutes.

5:15 PM - Out the door again for another 90 minute trek through rush-hour traffic. (Did I mention that Chicago is a sprawling place?)

7:00 PM - We arrive at the Evergreen Park Library just in time. 90 people pack into a tiny room. Just enough chairs. Everyone is happy. (I love libraries!) I give a different talk, this one about how I met my wife at the public library. I personalize books while taking questions from an intrepid student writing for his high school paper. He asks for a quote without actually asking a question. I babble for a bit.

10:30 PM - My head hits the pillow. I ignore emails. I ignore Candy Crush, Words With Friends, and the book I'm reading for a writer friend. I set my alarm for 6:30 AM and wonder what the next city will be like.

(Next up...the Montana Festival of the Book, Litquake in San Francisco, back to Portlandia and Powell's City of Books. I'll wave my wings as I fly overhead).